Electric Vehicle Sales In The US Rise By Largest Amount Ever In August

SEP 2 2016 BY JAY COLE 79

The Tesla Model S And X Combined For An Estimated 5,000 Sales In August For The US

The Tesla Model S And X Combined For An Estimated 5,000 Sales In August For The US

Against a backdrop of some admittedly fairly woeful sales comps from 2015, plug-in electric car sales shot skyward in August, as new and updated offerings found a record number of homes on US driveways.

During the month, an estimated ~14,882 were sold, up 66% from the 8,972 moved in August of 2015.

Plug-In Luxury Has A New Champion In August - The BMW 740e

Plug-In Luxury Has A New Champion In August – The BMW 740e

We should note that the trend of setting new monthly record highs in 2016 is not a new thing, as EV sales in the US have now set new highs in every month* this year.

However, the last 3 months have seen particularly strong sales improvements – July was up 50%, while June was up 45%.

By volume, the gain of 5,910 EV sales this month over August of 2015 was the largest increase on record.

Overall, 93,197 plug-ins have been sold, which is up 29% over the 72,270 moved last year.

With the current pace of recent sales, we expect that 2016 gain to close out the year much higher yet.

Leading the way, as it often as done year, was Tesla Motors – selling around 5,000 Model S and Model X all-electric vehicles by our estimate during the month.  But we should note that August was also the first time in history that 6 different automakers delivered more than 1,000 plug-in vehicles in the same month.

The Model S was the top selling all-electric car in August with ~3,125 sales, while the Chevrolet Volt finished on top of the extended range (PHEV) vehicles, with just over 2,000 sales.  The two plug-ins have traded places several times in 2016 for the top monthly sales spot, with each being the “top dog” 4 times.

The surprise hit for August?  Has to be the BMW X5 xDrive40e (or X5 plug-in, if you will), which sold an all-time best 876 copies.  You can almost hear the US population screaming “we want more plug-in utility vehicles!”

While we still wait on “big name” offerings and upgrades to arrive this year – the Toyota Prius Prime, Hyundai IONIQ Electric (BEV), 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah/33 kWh edition), Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Tesla P100DL S & X (details), the field of available EVs did expand by one in August, as the BMW 740e (details) just started to land at US dealers late in the month.

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers - *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers NA-X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

2016 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers – *Estimated Tesla Sales Numbers NA-X – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals, ** Fiat/Hyundai Does Not Report Sales Directly, Estimate Based on State/Rebate Data

Other Statistical Points of Interest from August 2016

Dark Horse Salew Winner For August: the BMW x5 xDrive40e - (InsideEVs/Michael B)

Dark Horse Salew Winner For August: the BMW x5 xDrive40e – (InsideEVs/Michael B)

Top Manufacturers Of Plug-In Vehicles:

  1. Tesla Motors* – 4,975
  2. GM – 2,379
  3. Ford – 2,204
  4. BMW – 2,085
  5. Nissan – 1,066
  6. VW Group – 1,056

Pure Electric Car Market Share vs PHEV In August*

  1. BEV – 7,822 -52.6%
  2. PHEV – 7,060 – 47.4%

New Year Highs Set In August By Model (previous 2016 high in brackets)

  • BMW X5 xDrive40e – 876 (655)
  • VW e-Golf – 454 (344)
  • Porsche Panamera S e-Hybrid – 59 (33)
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV – 25 (20)

(*) estimated

The full monthly recap by individual plug-in can be found on our Monthly Scorecard here.

*May of 2016 had only 24 selling days, versus 26 in previous years. Also note Spark EV sales for June have been restored to 359 units after some confusion at GM over the total

Categories: Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Sales, Smart, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

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79 Comments on "Electric Vehicle Sales In The US Rise By Largest Amount Ever In August"

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Umm….there’s also this car called the “Bolt EV” that is coming out later this year…

Please elaborate a bit on “coming out” 🙂

Bolt EV – Coming out of the Closet (Garage?)
It’s actually a City car – with Extra Range?
It’s Really a long range Smart ED – that got Stretched?
Mitsubishi – wished it made the Bolt EV instead of the iMiEV?

Mitsubishi made the A6M “Zero” that attacked Pearl Harbor on December 6th,1941, getting the U.S. into WW2. Are you sure you want ANYTHING from that brand?

You know they are now producing many guts of US weaponry, right? 🙂

Ha, ha. You’re kidding, of course. What do you think VW, Mercedes and BMW did with their manufacturing during WWII? In fact, Bosch, Mercedes, Deutsche Bank, VW used slave labor to produce war machines. What makes Mitsubishi so sinful as to need special treatment?

CocaCola & IBM are but few of the many USA companies who did business with Germany while USA was at war with it.

IBM supplied mainframes (big computers) that where used in Nazi concentration camps…

There is a small difference, VW, Mercedes and Bosch did not work for the Nazys until the ownership was stripped from the original owners. Different than BMW owners/board of directors which were Nazy.
Mercedes and VW had since apologized and made donations for refugees around the world. BMW had never atoned for their sins, and that’s why I refuse to buy BMWs.

I love my 2016 Volt. GM thought through the 55 mile EV range. 95% of my miles are electric — and I have no range anxiety! It can be a person’s only car — great for local and no searching for a charger for long trips. And it self-parks!

If you cant park your car yourself, stop driving.

I can wash my clothes myself by hand. That doesn’t mean I want to.

I agree that the new Volt has a great range and will be a great fit for many people. I was planning to get one after the concept, but the final design was not to my liking. Hope they make more models later to cover different tastes.

However, the reason I wanted to reply is because the Volt and plugins give me “Double Trouble” anxiety. For me and my needs, I would rather give up the gas part so I can avoid alternators, fuel pumps, and other regular problems. I’m curious if the Volt also has a regular Lead Acid battery because that is my biggest peave.

It does have a lead acid battery, like most (all?) plug-ins.

Did you check out the Gen2 Volt styling? It’s quite a bit different than Gen1.

I agree, I don’t understand why GM does not use the same drive train in something a bit larger and/or luxury. I can’t physically fit in the Volt, and I’m only 6’3″!

Why isn’t the 330e selling more, is it still that supply limited? If they could replicate the PHEV share of the X5, that would be amazing!

Mercedes on the other hand seems to do something wrong, basically same market and offers, but far lacking sales, compared to BMW. Maybe its just a time thing.

BTW, for the Volt being such a nice car, I have to say I am a bit disappointed.

The BMW 330e starts at $43,700. And that is the stripped base model. Most people want a bit more and BMW prices options high such that a typical 330e will be in the mid $50K region.

At that price, you are getting close to a base 60KWH Tesla that comes with a bigger tax-credit and gets rid of the annoying ICE.

I think the high-end luxury market is going to go mostly pure EV instead of PHEV because with an EV you get: complete silent driving, no lurching transmission, no oil changes, no messy fill-ups, no stinky toxic exhaust, no smog checks, the ability to fill-up at home, no vibration, etc.

High-end luxury PHEVs just don’t compare well to a pure EV with a big battery. EVs are inherently more luxurious.

And with that in mind Cadillac once again is about to hit the market with their CT6 PHEV, prices it in stratospheric category, likely makes an absurd TV commercial, and wonders why it doesn’t sell…

Also, only manufacturing it and exporting it from China in today’s political climate isn’t going to help.

Yeah, that is probably going to bomb.

But I think pretty much any Cadillac plug-in will bomb because it is mostly a brand associated with blue hairs and pimps. GM should probably think of creating a new sub-brand for plug-ins like BMW has with the i series.

GM already has too many sub brands and even their plugins would not mach good together. CT6, Bolt and Volt?

I would recommend GM to either make all the clever cars Buicks, take some European engineered Opels, like they did with the Regal and sell them in the US, maybe at a near luxury status. Might not be a big market and would take a lot of clever advertising, but the cars are there.

Or make a total turnaround with Chevy, take out the trucks and increase the value of the rest of the brand and not through fast sports cars. Which is equally hard.

Buick,Lincoln and Chrysler are all dead brands in North America. Yeah, I know the Chinese love “the Emperor’s Car, the Buick.”

The smart thing to do would be to rebrand them as near luxury plug-ins. PHEVs and pure BEVs.

Buick sells over 20K/month in the US and this figure has continued to rise over the last 7 years.

Where is the electrified Lincoln? I was in the airport this week, heard someone who was talking on his phone. I guess he worked for the a sales or marketing department, he clearly said “I don’t want to talk about how Lincolns are doing this year. They are just not selling.”
I was so tempted to walk up to him and ask him if they were making an electric drive Lincoln.

Not that I would disagree, but the X5 40e seems to sell pretty well, even though its right in the price range of a Model X.

So it can’t be just because people are looking for a pure EV. There still seems to be a market for luxury PHEVs. So once widely available, I think the 330e should also sell in the 500-1000 per month range.

Yeah, if you consider selling one third as many as Tesla does of the production-constrained X “many”.

If you consider 876 the third of 1850. It would be not so good, but since its basically much closer to half of it, BMW isn’t doing so bad.

I recently leased a 330e and I can tell you, the car is rare. Most dealers in the US don’t have one on their lot and many European buyers have wait times months away.

Don’t be fooled by the msrp, incentives are plentiful in the US, bringing lease pricing inline with the 330i and nowhere near the $700 payments a Model S 60 would cost.

Aside from a lower lease payment, my 330e seems to have a lower cost to operate as well. Free scheduled maintenance, including breaks, fluids etc. Most driving is done electrically and I can actually charge at all of the EV charging stations found at locations like the mall and beach (J1772), which just so happen to have up front parking. I am also allowed to travel in the express lanes on I-95 for free.

Agreed- Same withe X5 40e- free maint. for the length of the lease.

I looked at the Model X but not enough utility for me and the the monthly for a stripped car was about $1k/month when you include the giant down payment. The X5 at $73K was $599 including tax and I get my MSDs back at lease end. I’ve had the car for 11 days and am averaging 120mpg for my 20 mile (each way) commute. Off to the mountains this weekend- hoping to average at least 25 mpg

I call bs. Another who has no idea how to figure out mpg for a hybrid. You can’t simply ignore electricity and divide total miles by total gallons, which is what you’ve done.

X5 PHEV is a turd of a car. Polluting, inefficient and vulgar. But BMW can sell turds as long as it slaps its logo to it.

If he wants to calculate miles per gallon, just let him divide MILES by GALLONS…

Call BS all you want. I’ve driven over 65K miles (59K electric only) in the last 4+ years in my Volts. I know a little more than you think about mpg on electric and plug in cars.

I charge for free at work and at night for $0.035/kWh.

GAS used (Daily commute 20 miles each way)
Commute to work 232 to 392 mpg. (Avg= 312)
Commute home 80 mpg.
Average ~ 200 mpg
(1 GAL = $2.50)
Gas used (per day)= 0.20 GAL
Gas cost per day = $0.50 (40 miles)

Cost to charge at home (0.035 x 8kWh = 0.28 cents per day) 20 miles.
Cost to change at work = 0
Electric Cost per day $0.28 (40 miles)

Gas + Electric cost per day (40 miles)
0.50 + 0.28 = $0.78 per day

$2.50 per GAL / 0.78 = 3.2
3.2 x 40 = 128 mpg

3.2 days to use 1 GAL
128 miles to use 1 GAL

Stop trashing cars or models when you know nothing about them. Each persons needs determine the car that is right for them. There is no perfect car for everyone – electric or otherwise.

How is “free”, really baked into purchase price cheaper then completely unnecessary?

Wrong about why they have sold so little 330e BMWs. It is not because it isn’t an appealing car, and therefore people are flocking to the 60kWh Model S. It is because there aren’t any for sale around here. Local dealership has not even received one yet. As I said before, had there been full inventory of the 330e, BMW would have only needed to sell 294 of them to surpass Mega manufacturers GM and Ford last month in plug-in sales numbers.

So how many units did the BMW 7e sell?

According to an email from Hyundai Canada, it seems the Ioniq PHEV will be launched in fall of 2017. No idea if that applies to Hyundai USA too.

Hyundai’s new strategy seems to be to take planned obsolescence to new heights. All their planned launches are cars that became obsolete well before launch!

Nice to see the strong sales increase considering that gasoline is still ridiculously cheap. That really shows some desire for EVs beyond just the cheaper fuel aspect.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was big rebate money on the X5 40e in August – $6500 total ($5500 from BMW rebates and another $1000 for loyalty or Corp). Add to this an increased residual to 60% and an MF of 0.00068 and BAM – great leases.

My $73K MSRP was $599 per month including 9% tax. I’m averaging over 125mpg back and forth to work (20 miles each way) and getting about 19 miles on electric only.

As a 4+ year, multiple Volt owner, I’m very pleased. Too bad GM couldn’t offer me a CUV option…..

Isn’t it amazing how they haven’t done that tom911?

GM could OWN this market segment with their excellent Voltec technology and instead they are squandering their opportunity.

I’ll take it that they are terrified of anything that might eat into their SUV/CUV/Truck ICE profits.

When you combine GM’s refuse to release a Voltec SUV/CUV and Mitsubishi’s endless delay of the Outlander PHEV, it starts looking fishy.

And GM even had a CUV PHEV pretty much ready to ship many years ago . . . the Saturn Vue I think it was.

Tesla gets to take advantage the situation a bit but since the Model X is so expensive and the Falcon Wing doors are a turn-off to many, a lot of people won’t consider it.

do you think they will drop those doors and windshield on model y?

Tesla and/or Elon said they were considering putting falcon wing doors on the Model Y. But I doubt the final decision has been made.

Both of Tesla’s most recent cars, the MX and the M≡, have panoramic windshields. So it looks like Tesla is going to make that standard, despite some complaints about getting too much sun on hot summer days. Personally I hope Tesla will make that optional rather than a standard feature, but oddly enough Elon didn’t call me up and ask my opinion, as he should have. 😉

Agree, and I think all this will change when all the laggard OEMs start getting a big enema in the form of the Model 3 and especially the following Model Y CUV.

I will predict right now that GM will launch either a CUV BEV or possibly a Voltec-based CUV (it would be nice if they did both) right before the Tesla Model Y gets here–just like they are doing with the Bolt before the Model 3.

In other words, they will do nothing except under market pressure applied by Tesla or another company.

I suppose GM could redesign the Bolt to look more like a traditional CUV, but functionally that’s what it is already. Roomy interior, hatchback… what does a CUV have that the Bolt doesn’t? I suppose GM could redesign it to look more like a gasmobile CUV, but unless they made it longer that would actually reduce the interior space.

True, the Bolt hatchback will certainly have all the functionality of a CUV.

However, most people tend to buy SUVs certainly and probably CUVs just as much if not more on their looks/ride height.

They say for women in particular, the extra height of SUVs/CUVs are particularly a good seller because in the end most decisions are mainly emotional rather then logic.

If they were based on logic, then people who need to haul lots of people/gear would mainly buy minivans and most people wouldn’t buy trucks either since they are highly inefficient as daily drivers.

Congratulations for the Sexist Post of the Day.

Exactly- Count me as one that is turned off my the Model X doors and lack of utility.

And yes, we all know the service apartment is where the real money is made. Gm can’t afford to kill it’s cash cow and all those SUV service appointments on the books.

It’s a real shame. Hadn’t been in Chevy or dealership for 35+ years before I got my first Volt. After taking delivery I loved it and was instrumental on getting four others to lease them as well. They all love them. And this coming from a guy who’s owned two 911’s, an SL55 AMG, two Audi A6’s and an M5 in the past 5 years. GM won me over then nothing to upsell or keep me – not even a hint about the Bolt. My Volt lease is up in Feb and I’m still waiting for news on the Bolt – very sad.

Agree on lack of utility on Model X. That sloping rear roof is a killer. Makes it difficult to put a roof rack (skybox) on the vehicle. Also, I frequency haul things, including applicances, and the sloping rear roof of the Model X would be a problem.

Model X: it is what it is…
An exercise in Hubris…
Completely forgot WHY they were building it… Additional revenue to help fund scaling next production model.

Volt and Bolt: Don’t for one minute think GM wants to produce electric cars. Both are critically hobbled. Yes, I own and love my Volt. But really, a few hundred dollars would have doubled sales potential and actual utility.

Volt: 3.6KWh? Widen to make up battery in tunnel. Jurassic rear suspension. No stock in dealerships outside of hotspots.

Bolt: Its a flat back hatchback. Those DO NOT SELL In US. Tons of cheap chrome jewelry. Could have easily been a traverse clone. 50kwh enforces city car. Oh and its really LG’s car. GM just bends the metal.

They’re selling as well as they are strictly because their electric. They could have made it as compelling as any of their golden goose CUV’s.

Wow, LEAF dropped to 5th places now.

That is a new low.

I knew the sales would tank, but I didn’t expect this much of tanking.

Maybe because others are doing better. That is certainly a good thing.

If you just look at the last 5 months, even the i3 is almost beating the Leaf. But since global sales are still growing, I wouldn’t really worry If I were in charge of the Leaf at Nissan.

Nissan are actively reducing inventory in the US. I think they’ve decided to put the US EV market on ice. They got their fingers burnt with the climate sensitive battery packs.

They may not be worried right now, but when they do have a credible car for sale they are confident can tolerate the US climate and highway driving they may find themselves struggling to get sales back into gear.

Had they taken better care of the early adopters they’d have a extended salesforce willing to talk up their product. Instead they might find the US public hesitant to trust their assurance their battery issues are fixed. Once bitten twice shy.

Isn’t the Leaf starting to become a too old model now and in more one that didn’t have a great look from the start. Nissan is also not expending its ev offering since they still have only the Leaf. One would have expected a new model Leaf and a sedan and CUV model as well by now.

No reason to, as Leaf did what it was supposed to– gave Nissan sufficient CARB Credits and “Green” Reputation to keep selling ICE vehicles without impunity.

Nissan is down to having just 1583 Leafs in North American inventory. That has got to mean that they are close to announcing the Gen II Leaf, doesn’t it?
30 kWh won’t do it any longer as your lead vehicle. If the Gen II Leaf comes out with 50 kWh there will still be a market for the 30 but if Nissan doesn’t deliver at least 50 soon the Bolt will eat what is left of Nissan’s BEV brand equity.
Tesla and BMW are chowing away on that brand equity from the top and GM will be feasting on it from below soon. Nissan had better sh** or get off the pot.

“Nissan is down to having just 1583 Leafs in North American inventory. That has got to mean that they are close to announcing the Gen II Leaf, doesn’t it?”

That’s what InsideEVs’ Jay Cole says, and I presume he knows what he’s talking about. He usually does.

I skim through the comments and articles and I miss stuff all the time. If Jay says that it is likely that Nissan is nearly ready to reveal the Gen II Leaf, I would bet that that is indeed the case.
It will be cool to have another big sales number to drive up the total plug in sales figures. I have seen a picture of a car that is possibly the new Leaf and though it keeps some of the old look, it does so in a less catfishy sort of way. A better looking Leaf with 175-210 miles of AER would be a nice vehicle. The more AER, the merrier.

I thought this year might be roughly 12-15% YoY total increase. I think I may bump that up a little. I do think 2017 will be a doubling of 2016 sales.


Bolt not really going to show until Nov-Dec. Talked to three Chevy shops around me and they’re clueless.

Couple years ago, I was hoping for a steady CAGR 30% annual growth. Now, it is looking a little more hockey-stick-ish.

I’ve talked to three Chevy dealerships too.

One is totally clueless, never heard of the Bolt.

Another emailed me to say they had a wide selection of new and used Bolts on the lot. They later changed their tack on that 🙂

The third dealer did know how to spell Bolt EV and were aware of a new car to be released. Wow!!

It’s easy to beat up on the dealers, but the one dealer who did have a clue said they have no information from GM at all, they anticipated preorders will start in October. They did ask me if I wanted a leather interior or not, a reflexive question with no basis in fact IMHO. I told them what I really wanted is to see what options are available and at what cost.

8 months past and only 28’000 Tesla’s sold…how are they going to achieve 80’000 by year end?

It may sound strange but the world is bigger than the usa 😉

there is China,and the sella few cars in Europe,and maybe in Dubai…..

there will be a 40kwh leaf in near future.possible the first unit can be delivered in december,for sure beginning 2017.
40kwh available,from now nissan and renault advert only available size.

Hopefully, Nissan will price the 40kWh Leaf appropriately … much lower than the Bolt.

One of the CHAdeMo units at Nissan HQ just underwent 5 day maintenance operation. Normally maintenance takes 1-2 days.

Makes you wonder if they are going to field test a higher kW charge rate for the bigger battery LEAF’s. I’ll check the unit out Tuesday to see if there is any outward sign of an upgrade (I kinda doubt it).

Check out the cable standard chademo cables are rated at 125A. If they haven’t changed the cable and plug then it will only be 50 kW.

Seems that they would go to 42kWh or 48 based on their 6kWh increments… Can’t wait to see how far they go for this rev… and If we get to see the new model or maybe models? Would make sense to me if Ghosn wants to establish leadership at low to mid ranges they should roll out the Van with 48kWh or more… the Juke2 and LEAF2 with more range also… could be just the right combo against a BOLT which will be woefully undersold by its dealers with no Fast charge infrastructure to speak of… and little coming from GM. As to Tesla… Nissan compliments instead of competes.

Any reason for the i-MiEV’s sudden ‘success’? It’s not often US sales top CDN sales.

The iMiev is the only thing Mitsu can sell… all their ICE mobiles are under the emissions cloud… so to speak… Besides… severe discounting… Wish they would roll out a 32kWh battery… double or so of what they have… heck of a car if cheap enough with enough range. For local runs the iMiev is a great choice. All come with CHAdeMo now for range extension.

There will hopefully be many, many headlines similar to this – the rest of this year, in 2017, 2018… and beyond.

Record-breaking 0.98% market share this month! Just an eyelash or two away from breaking the 1% mark. (Depending on how the numbers eventually settle, of course.)

If Tesla delivers big the way they normally do for end-of-quarter months, and everyone else does the same (or even just makes a reasonable effort), September could be pretty special.

It would be lovely if August 2016 was to become the last month that EV market share in the US was ever under 1%. OK, that’s wishful thinking, but if the slew of big new models stays on schedule, it’s a very small possibility.

(My best prediction for last ever month under 1% is Feb 2017.)

“6 different automakers delivered more than 1,000 plug-in vehicles in the same month.” Unless I am reading the table wrongly, this is counting Tesla Motors and Tesla Motors as two different automakers, which seems wrong to me.